Taliban ‘In Principle’ Has no Problem With Istanbul Summit: HCNR

The High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) on Thursday said that the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told the Afghan government that the Taliban in principle have no problem with participating in the upcoming UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey.

Assadullah Saadati, the deputy head of the HCNR, said that the Taliban want to convene a preliminary meeting before heading to Turkey; but the Taliban have so far not made any official comment about it.

Meanwhile, the Taliban, in a weekly statement, called on the UN and the US to remove the names of Taliban leaders from the blacklist if they want the peace process to reach a conclusion.

“The argument is that in principle they do not see any problem with the Istanbul conference, however, they suggested a preliminary meeting to be held before to help the Istanbul conference be result-oriented,” said Assadullah Saadati, the deputy head of the HCNR.

Continued Taliban violence in the country, however, is causing widespread concern among Afghans.

“The people are feeling a lot of pain, they have a lot of worries because of the wars, because only the innocent people are the victims,” said Zabihullah Mojadadadi, the head of Jabha-e-Milli Nejat party.

“The strangers make the decision on war and peace, let’s come together and take the initiative on our own,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, the head of Shurai-e-Sulh Wa Nejat party.

“We see the government day and night say that we are ready for fighting and chant the slogan of war, lets chant the slogan of peace,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

“The foreign troops’ withdrawal should be conducted in a manner so that Afghanistan does not engage in a civil war after their withdrawal,” said Fazel Hadi Wazin, a member of Hizb-e-Islami.

The Turkey conference on Afghanistan is expected in the next few weeks.